Kolams: A South Indian Tradition and Mathematical Art Form

Practice making kolams 

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Join us in NYSCI’s Design Lab to learn about an abstract South Indian design form called kolam. Mostly practiced by South Indian Hindu women, kolams are made by trickling powder through the fingers. Small to medium kolams are created every morning: between the night and the day, and between the street and the home. Larger kolams are created for special occasions. The Tamil month of Margazhi (mid-December through mid-January) is a time when women go out of their way to create a different large kolam every day and often participate in formal and informal contests.

noon – 2:30 pm
Practice making kolams with local experts.

Mathematical Thinking Among Kolam Experts – A Talk by Dr. Sunita Vatuk
2:30 pm
Learn more about the tradition and its mathematical connections.

Dr. Sunita Vatuk is a mathematician and assistant professor of secondary math Education at The City College of New York. She has worked extensively with math teachers and math students in workshops in the United States and India held at and/or sponsored by Fulbright-USIEF, Vigyan Prasar, Museum of Modern Art, Eye on India, UC Davis, Princeton University, CU Boulder, Origami USA, and Math for America, among others. While she was a graduate student in pure math, she worked as a teaching artist in the New York City schools. Inspired by that experience, she has incorporated paper-folding, weaving, printmaking, photography, ceramics and other hands-on activities in her own math classes at City College, as well as in workshops for math majors, students and math teachers.

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